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Naveed Jatt, suspect in Shujaat Bukhari killing, another militant shot dead in Budgam encounter

CRPF jawans carry an injured colleague at Chattergam in Budgam district on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Naveed Jatt, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Pakistan-origin commander and a suspect in the assassination of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, was killed along with his associate in central Kashmir’s Budgam on Wednesday.

“Jatt’s killing is a big success. He was a prime suspect in Bukhari’s assassination and behind atrocities against civilians,” said Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh.

In his early twenties, Jatt and his local associate Reyaz Ahmad from Pulwama were trapped inside a residential area at Budgam’s Chattergam. “A fierce gunfight ensued, in which the two were killed,” said the police. However, one militant escaped from the encounter site.

The militant apparently survived under the debris of the house and later fled the scene. A video of the militant escaping was uploaded online by locals. Three soldiers were injured and three houses damaged in the operation.

Stone throwing, which erupted in the area after the operation, left three protesters and several CRPF jawans injured.

Escaped from hospital

From Pakistan’s Multan, Jatt, who was arrested in 2012 from south Kashmir, escaped from Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital on February 6 this year when he was being shifted from the Central Jail, Srinagar, for treatment. His name had surfaced as a suspect in the killing of Bukhari on June 14 outside his office in Srinagar. Jatt was now working as LeT’s operation commander.

“Arresting Jatt alive could have helped in getting further details in the (Bukhari) case, in which investigation is still going on. Details will be made public once the investigation is completed,” said a police officer.

The police had claimed that three militants, including Muzaffar Ahmad alias Talha from south Kashmir’s Qazigund area; Azad Ahmad Malik alias Dada alias Zaid from Bijbehara; Naveed Jatt alias Hanzulla from Pakistan, were captured on CCTV footage while carrying out the assassination. Dada was recently killed in Anantnag.

Jatt alias Hanzalla was part of the Ajmal Kasab group and was raised in a madrasa in Pakistan “where he had undergone arms training” and carried out major attacks on security forces and raided banks in south Kashmir.

“Since he is a Pakistani national, the competent authorities shall be approached for handing over his body,” said DGP Singh.

In coordinated operations by the security forces, 18 militants, including four top commanders, were killed in the past six days in south Kashmir. At least 40 militants have been killed this month.

Meanwhile, scores of students of Kashmir University, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora, and a college in Bemina staged a protest and held funeral prayers in absentia for the slain commander and his associate. The IUST has suspended classes on Thursday.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 5:07:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/let-commander-naveed-jatt-among-2-killed-in-budgam-kashmir/article25612298.ece

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